Is everything a blur when you play soccer or snorkel? Investing in a pair of prescription goggles may make your favorite activity much more enjoyable.View Article
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Posted on 06-30-2017
On August 21, Americans will have a rare opportunity to view a total solar eclipse. The last similar eclipse was in 1918. A solar eclipse occurs when the orbits of the moon and the sun align in a way that the moon fully blocks the sun resulting in a short period of total darkness.
Viewers of the solar eclipse need to take proper precautions to protect their eyes. Directly staring at the sun at any time without taking precautions can be dangerous. The sun is not any stronger than normal during an eclipse, but where you would squint, blink and turn away from the full sun on a normal day to protect your eyes, it can be more comfortable to look at the sun during an eclipse because the sun blocked partially by the moon does not seem as strong.
Staring at the sun for even a short time without wearing the proper eye protection can damage your retina permanently. Exposure of the retina to intense visible light causes damage to its light-sensitive cells. The light triggers reactions within the cells which damage their ability to respond to visual stimuli. The result is a loss of function of these cells which may be either temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of the damage. Essentially the sun's rays are burning these cells. The damage can cause permanent blind spots in one's field of vision. Unlike our skin which has pain receptors which alert us to a sun burn, there are no pain receptors in the retina. Damage to the retina is a painless event. Side effects from the damage are often not immediate.
The best way to view the eclipse during the partial phase is by wearing a pair of approved eclipse sunglasses. Ordinary sunglasses do not offer enough protection. Whereas ordinary sun glasses transmit 10 to 20 percent of the light, eclipse glasses only transmit 0.0001 percent of the light.
The only time that the Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye is during a total eclipse, when the moon completely covers the disk of the sun. In fact, if you don't remove your glasses during the period of the total eclipse, you will not see anything. There will be total darkness. It is never safe to look at a partial phase of an eclipse without proper measures.
If you do not have access to eclipse glasses, the eclipse can be experienced by creating a simple card projector.
What to Do:
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